November 26, 1960 |
Munojot Yo‘lchiyeva (born 1960), also known under her name Munadjat Yulchieva, is the leading performer of classical Uzbek music and its Persian-language cousin Shashmaqâm. She is famous for the unique quality of her voice and her natural charisma.
Yo‘lchiyeva was born in 1960 in the Ferghâna valley near Tashkent, and from an early age it was obvious she had a great gift as a singer. This nearly resulted in her being channelled into a career as an opera singer, but she was inexorably drawn towards the slow, aching music of her own ancient culture, something that seemed almost pre-ordained by her name, which means 'ascent to God' or simply 'prayer'.
She is frequently accompanied by her mentor, the famous rubab player, Shawqat Mirzaev . Her repertoire includes many of his compositions, and she usually performs with his ensemble. Typically the group use local instruments such as the dutar (two stringed lute), the tanbur (3-stinged lute), a gidjak spike fiddle, doira frame drum, ney flute and at times the chang zither. Those lucky enough to attend one of her rare concerts abroad will witness a sumptuously dressed performer of startling gravitas and charisma, with long pigtails trailing down to her waist.
Only two recordings of her music are widely available - the first for the French label Ocora (1994) and the most recent (1997) on Germany's Network label, which has the subtitle A Haunting Voice.
KOCIEJOWSKI, Marius. The Pebble Chance: Feuilletons & Other Prose (Biblioasis, 2014) contains a chapter on her, "A Singer from Ferghana".
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